The discussion about the delivery of German Leopard tanks to Ukraine is in full swing.
Germany discusses sending tanks to Ukraine. But that is currently not possible. “Even if the decision is made tomorrow that we can send our Leopard tanks to Kyiv, delivery will take until the beginning of next year,” said Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger of “Bild am Sonntag”.
Leopard-2 main battle tank: These German super tanks await Ukraine(00:44)
According to Papperger, the armaments group still has 22 Leopard 2 vehicles and 88 Leopard 1 vehicles. “But we cannot repair these tanks without an order, as the costs are several hundred million euros. Rheinmetall cannot pre-finance that,” Papperger told the newspaper.
Repair takes a year
The repair of the decommissioned battle tanks takes “just under a year”, Papperger continued. “The vehicles are not only repainted, but have to be converted for use in the war.” The tanks would be “completely disassembled and then rebuilt.”
The Leopard could play a decisive role in the war, said the CEO: “With battle tanks, an army can break through enemy lines and end a long trench war. With the Leopard, the soldiers can advance tens of kilometers at a time.”
Great Britain agrees
Ukraine has long been demanding the delivery of Leopard tanks. The debate picked up momentum this week after Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country was ready to do so as part of an international coalition. However, this would require approval from Germany, the country of manufacture.
Finally, on Saturday, Great Britain became the first country to announce the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Kyiv. The provision of the Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems should help the Ukrainian army “push back the Russian troops,” said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The British commitment is increasing the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to also send battle tanks to Ukraine. (SDA/euc)